Last week was Spring Break here, which means Hanna was out of school. We had our first fantastically Spring day and decided to get out an enjoy it at the Zoo.
We usually go to the Sedgwick County Zoo ~ which is a fantastic zoo, but for this trip I decided to take her to the “new zoo” in town. It’s actually been around for quite a while, but has recently started advertising and becoming more popular. We headed off on our Animal Safari Adventure. (because everything’s more fun when you put the word adventure behind it)
Tanganyika is a pretty fun wildlife park because it’s interactive. You can feed many of the animals, you can also pet quite a few (for a price of course). It’s a small park, but has a very open feel and doesn’t really feel much like a zoo.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those parents who doesn’t go to the zoo to just see poor animals caged in small spaces ~ if we go to the zoo, we’re going to LEARN!!!
No reason you can’t have fun doing it though.
We took a trip to the Botanical Gardens last year, it was during our local River Fest (although we didn’t know that and probably wouldn’t have gone if we did ~ it was packed), but they handed out these fantastic little botanical bingo cards. Each square had a flower or an animal of some sort on it and you had to find them and cross them off as you walked through Botanica.
This was the best trip to Botanica we’d ever had. Hanna LOVED it, she spent the whole time looking for the things on her card, and crossing them off. Carrying things in her hands didn’t leave much room for grabbing flowers and plants ~ it was perfect.
I remembered this trip and thought a zoo bingo would be fun too. I wish I had remembered before we went on our last animal safari, but I’m putting it together for our next trip.
There are quite a few websites I’ve found that have some cool zoo bingo cards. This is my favorite. They have bingo and just cards with pictures. There are a couple animals on the cards that we don’t have at our zoo, but we could make that part of the game too.
I am thinking we could bring a stamp to stamp the ones we see ~ or even stickers, both of which Hanna loves.
Finding the specific animals is great, and there tons of other ways you change up this game. You could ask what does each animal eat ~ and fill it in on the card.
Where Do Animals Live?
You could print out a map of the world and have your kiddo mark where each animal lives on the map.
As kids get older you can create questions about animals in the zoo ~ where they live, how long they live, where they sleep, how many are left in the world etc. Don’t do so many animals it isn’t fun, but 5 or 6 as you go through the zoo ~ they’ll look forward to finding the animals on the list and then learning about them.
I know our zoo has great signs in front of all the animals with tons of information. This last animal safari Hanna was very interested in where the animals lived. Tanganyika had great maps with red coloring where the animals lived.
A photo safari would be another fun zoo game to play.
If your little one has a camera ~ or you’re willing to let them use yours, you could have them take pictures of the animals along the way. You could create your OWN bingo cards from their pictures, or create a collage, or print the pictures on card stock and cut the animals out to create your own zoo at home. (here’s what gave me that idea. These cute rainbow shaped animals)
There’s all kinds of lessons you and learning involved in doing a photo safari ~ if your kids are old enough to understand what a real safari is, you can talk to them about conservation and endangered animals ~ and why that makes a photo safari so special.
So there you have it, a few zoo games to play on your next trip to the zoo, at least those are a few that are floating around in my head right now. I’d love to hear what zoo games YOU play! Summer’s coming and we hit the zoo a lot ~ it’d be great to have tons of games to play.
Here’s a little peek at our trip to Tanganyika and feeding the Lemurs. (1 Craisin for a DOLLAR!!) (yes I paid for 3 ~ it was so fun!!)
If you’d like to take learning about animals one step further I highly recommend this little animal Encyclopedia. Hanna’s Aunt sent it to her for Valentine’s Day and it is fantastic. Great pictures, easy to understand information about the animals ~ all with Pooh and friends leading the way.